The Granite Falls Fire Department is without a member of its fleet of fire suppression and rescue vehicles

The Granite Falls Fire Department is without a member of its fleet of fire suppression and rescue vehicles –– action by the Granite Falls City Council Monday evening looked to remedy the situation as quickly and cost efficiently as possible. According to Fire Chief Dave Beasley, the Granite Falls Fire Department has been without use of a 1977 Ford Pumper Truck, after a K-M Fire Pump Specialist conducted an August 21 certification test on the vehicle and discovered that the truck's engine and pump performance were deficient to a degree that would not allow the specialist to re-certify the truck without repair moving forward. With repair costs expected to run three times the amount of the current truck's value and a used truck providing a more temporary fix, Beasley said it was the fire department's opinion that the most prudent course of action would be to replace the existing pumper with a new fire truck. “If we buy a used truck, in 10 years or less, we’re going to find ourselves in the same position we are today,” Beasley said. The Fire Chief went on to note that a new truck, outfitted to meet the city’s particular needs, would be expected to last 20-25 years with only minimal maintenance required the first 10 -15. The difference in price for a used truck compared to new, is $250,00 to $300,000 used and approximately $475,000 for new, according to council information. The city was scheduled to purchase a new truck in 2015, and so was not too far off from expecting the replacement. By moving up the purchase the city will have to look to cover unbudgeted expenses revolving around a replacement and temporary rental. However, City Manager Bill Lavin stated that he thought this could be accomplished without a special levy. Council members acknowledged the necessity of the vehicle to the city’s fire department and thus move forward with a pair of resolutions, one which would allow the city to pursue the acquisition of vehicles and equipment through a cooperative purchasing agent; and a second, which allows the fire department to begin taking the steps it will need to accomplish the purchase of said fire truck. In order to utilize the cooperative purchasing agent, known as the Houston-Galveston Area Council, of Texas, the city approved a Interlocal Contract for Cooperative Purchasing. As to whether the city will seek a fire truck through the entity has yet to be finalized, but by passing the resolution any city department would be able to utilize the purchasing agent, which gains access to a greater number of vendors through its scale. Included in council information was the estimated increase to the annual debt service levy by issuing a GO Equipment bond. According to city financial advisor, Ehlers and Associates, a 10 year $500,000 bond would entail a variable interest rate of .65 percent at the onset of the bond and 2.95 percent in the bond’s final year, creating an estimated $70,000 in total interest and annual payments of approximately $60,000. In other news: •The city approved a request by the Minnesota Falls Township Board to use the arrival/departure building at the Granite Falls Municipal Airport for monthly township meetings, as it has done the last several years. • The city called for two separate public hearings, one on proposed 2013 street improvements and one on proposed 2013 utility improvements. The two hearings will be held back to back during the November 18 council meeting. The street improvements hearing will open at 7:45 p.m. while the utility improvement hearing will begin at 8:00 p.m. •Council passed a resolution in support of proposed improvements to Highway 212 both east and west of city of Cologne.